The world’s top platinum producers are seeking new talks with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (ACMU) representatives over new pay demands this week amid South Africa’s longest mining strike. The 21-week walkout has impacted 40% of the precious metal’s global output.
Current AMCU demands could cost $94 million, according to Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin plc. officials. Still, “there’s a real desire to get this resolved,” Impala spokesman Johan Theron told Bloomberg. “Often the last bit is the hardest;” last week’s “in principle” deal included 20% monthly raises of $93 over current wages up to $561.
But the companies called the new demands, including a one-time, $280 payment per worker, and other allowance and wage increases, unaffordable. To date, they have lost $2 billion in revenue, with workers losing $963 million in wages, producers added; AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa was unavailable for comment, reported Bloomberg.
Starting January, AMCU initiated the 70,000-worker stoppage in the nation where 70% of global platinum is sourced; South Africa’s economy, the biggest on the continent, has since fallen into a recession with manufacturing accompanying the strike. Meanwhile, the lost output, coupled with a worldwide platinum glut, will inevitably lead to job losses, said analysts.